The annual report card on Ohio’s public school districts came out Thursday.
Compiled by the Ohio Department of Education, the much-criticized report cards - which measure school districts and school buildings by various academic standards – provide the public with a comparative tool.
The report cards, which are compiled from the previous school year’s student testing, are an essential way to assure accountability, say state education officials.
Here are 5 things you need to know about the state’s report cards:
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1. Adjustment time over. In 2015, Ohio lawmakers extended “safe harbor” provisions to give students and schools time to adjust to the new standards and tests. The 2016-17 school year, which was the basis for this week’s report cards, is the last year these provisions are in place. Starting with 2018, the Ohio report card will include a single letter grade earned by each of the state’s 612 school districts.
2. Improvement in Butler County. Every one of Butler County’s 10 school districts showed improvement in the “performance index” (PI) measurement, which is the most detailed of the grading standards applied to Ohio school systems.
3. How did the biggest districts do? Lakota registered the highest PI in Butler County with 82.7 percent – up from the previous 80.5 percent. Lakota is the largest school system in the county, the largest suburban district in Southwest Ohio and the eighth largest in the state. Warren County’s largest district – Mason Schools – registered the highest PI score there at 87.5.
4. Criticism of the report cards. The report cards are based on standardized student testing mandated by the ODE and each of the leaders of Butler County’s four largest school systems have all in their own fashion criticized the state for what they consider excessive testing requirements.
5. Some school qualities not considered. The tests do not take into account the wide disparity in social-economic factors between school systems, which is a factor cited by some educational studies as impacting student proficiency. The median household income in West Chester Township is $57,540. In Middletown it is $37,161.